TAMPA — The news had only been official for an hour, but nevertheless the gear was already available.
Chris Cook, a Lakeland resident of 32 years, couldn’t get his hands on a new Buccaneers jersey fast enough when he saw the news Tom Brady had officially signed with Tampa Bay on Friday morning. Cook saw a post on Twitter that jerseys were available and thought, “Eh, why not?”
The 51-year-old Bucs fan went online and added a Brady jersey to his cart. A couple of clicks later, he landed on a confirmation page telling him he could expect his order to ship out around the middle of July.
“I’m a fan of the Bucs, and I personally hate the Patriots,” Cook said. “But I think part of buying that jersey is to spite the New England fans. There was a little bit of that in the mix."
Cook isn’t sure what Brady’s presence will bring to the franchise hardware-wise — he knows back-to-back Super Bowls is a big ask — but he’s confident the six-time Super Bowl champion will help shift the attitude and the work ethic around. Cook hopes the Bucs will even draft another quarterback that can learn under Brady, too.
“You’re going to learn from the best," Cook said.
Cook, a Buffalo, N.Y., native, cheered for the Bills before moving down to Tampa Bay in the 1980s. Now, he watches nearly every Buccaneers game at home. And he’s going to try to make it out to Raymond James to see a game — and Brady — in person this season.
“This town loves a winner,” Cook said. “It’s been proven with the Lightning. It’s been proven with the Bucs 20 years ago, those years when the Bucs were the talk of the town. Everybody stopped and watched the Bucs play."
Cook said he’s excited about the redesign. But if he doesn’t like it, he’ll cancel his order.
“I hate the ones we have now, but I really like the ones we had before that,” he said. “I think those were the best we’ve ever had out of all the designs the team’s had.”
Fanatics, an official licensed sports merchandise retailer, released nine versions of a Tom Brady jersey after Brady’s official signing.
The jerseys are not true replicas of what fans will receive if they place their order now. The new uniform combo for the Bucs has yet to be released (that won’t come until next month ... maybe) and Brady’s number hasn’t been finalized, either. Brady has always worn No. 12 in the NFL (he wore No. 10 at Michigan), however, Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin also wears No. 12.
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The nine jerseys included men’s, women’s, youth, a white game jersey, an alternate game jersey, a women’s white jersey, a women’s alternate jersey, a youth white jersey and a youth alternate jersey. Prices ranged from $74.99 to $99.99.
Other websites have also debuted their own Brady merchandise, including BreakingT. The sportswear apparel website released three Brady-related products, including a photoshopped Brady face on the traditional Buccaneers logo and an overview of Raymond James Stadium with “The Big Tombrero” written above.
Contact Mari Faiello at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @faiello_mari.